By Patrick Gary, Contributor
The story of Cokana Vodka is simple enough, as relayed by the producers. They say that founder and owner Leslie Campbell was traveling and working in Argentina, and there she was introduced to the practice of chewing coca leaves. She and her partner Debbie Chase decided to share the flavor — and, in some ways, the international experience — by combining the two ingredients to create what is believed to be the first coca leaf-flavored vodka.
This creates a unique flavor experience. It is rich and full and lingers; it is a largely unfamiliar flavor, but not unpleasant. It’s herbal and a bit grassy with a hint of bitterness at the end. It’s not unlike the flavor of bay leaves or dried oregano. Cokana is very nice over light ice, although with the addition of a bit of lemon juice or cucumber, it becomes quite a lovely drink.
For anyone worried about legality, as raw coca leaf is illegal in the US, it is legal to use if the active ingredients have been removed. This is made in Portland, Oregon, and is legal to consume.
So, for someone looking for a novel flavor and a distinct, pleasant sipping vodka, I’d definitely recommended Cokana.